The Maenads

Ursula K. Le Guin
Somewhere I read 
that when they finally staggered off the mountain 
into some strange town, past drunk, 
hoarse, half naked, blear-eyed, 
blood dried under broken nails 
and across young thighs, 
but still jeering and joking, still trying 
to dance, lurching and yelling, but falling 
dead asleep by the market stalls, 
sprawled helpless, flat out, then 
middle-aged women, 
respectable housewives, 
would come and stand nightlong in the agora 
silent 
together 
as ewes and cows in the night fields, 
guarding, watching them 
as their mothers 
watched over them. 
And no man 
dared 
that fierce decorum.

From Finding My Elegy by Ursula K. Le Guin. Copyright © 2012 by Ursula K. Leguin. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

From Finding My Elegy by Ursula K. Le Guin. Copyright © 2012 by Ursula K. Leguin. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Ursula K. Le Guin